I’ve written before about social media and the practice of law — How to Destroy a Legal Career with Facebook , The Case of the Juror with the Twitchy Thumbs — the Oregon juror sanctioned for sending Tweets from the jury box, and Investigating with Social Media. And of course, I’ve written about other dumb things lawyers do. Today, I’m sharing a blog that combines the topics, from NW Lawyer, the Washington State Bar News blog. Of course, your lawyer protagonist would never do such things, but the lawyer on the other side of a big case? The cute guy lawyer your protag used to see in the courthouse and now she wonders where he went — or why he’s now pulling espressos at Starbucks instead of working in the defender’s office?
“Legal Ethics: Social Media Edition
Social media has potential pitfalls for everyone, but particularly lawyers. Take a look at these stories about lawyers using — and sometimes abusing — social media, and breathe a sigh of relief that you haven’t made any of these mistakes (you haven’t, right?)
- In Florida, two assistant public defenders were fired after one of them made a derogatory post about Palestinians, suggesting that they should be “burned to the ground.” The other PD “liked” and commented on the post.
- In another case, an Illinois lawyer was suspended for posting a video of his client participating in an undercover drug buy without explaining to the client the risks of the posting.
- In California, a lawyer serving on a jury stipulated to an 18-month suspension after he failed to disclose that he was an attorney during his voir dire examination as a prospective juror in a criminal trial and then, after being chosen as a juror, chronicled the jury deliberations on his blog.
- A Missouri appeals court warned a prosecutor about posting statements on Twitter before and during a trial because of the risk of tainting the jury.
- Finally, a Chicago lawyer was reprimanded after she responded to a client’s negative Avvo review byposting information related to the representation in what was charged as an effort to intimidate the client.
The Washington State Bar Association’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) is responsible for reviewing, investigating and prosecuting grievances about the ethical conduct of Washington lawyers. Learn more about the ODC.”
Great post, Leslie! Words fail me, except to say, “How could they be so DUMB???”
Ah, the old question: how can a person be smart enough to finish law school and pass the bar, but still be so dumb? No doubt the same question comes up in other professions — where it’s equally impossible to answer!
And then there was the Texas prosecutor who asked for a continuance to attend her grandmother’s funeral. Then posted pics on her Facebook page showing her partying and riding motorcycles. The judge was not amused.
Those darn judges — no sense of humor! Thanks for sharing that one, Joyce.
Great stuff, Leslie. I won’t be surprised if one or some of these show up in one or some of my stories. Thanks!
You’re welcome, Jan — no shortage of material!
Texas lawyers were entertained monthly for many years by a federal judge’s collection of dumb lawyer/dumb client stories. An in-court verbal goof is still called a Buckmeyer.
Oh, poor, dumb Buckmeyer! Alas, every jurisdiction has one.